LONDON, ENGLAND — The International Grains Council’s (IGC) preliminary world wheat production forecast for 2012-13, which was issued on Jan. 19, estimates production in the year at 685 million tonnes that would represent a decline of 5 million tonnes from the forecast record outturn of 690 million tonnes in the current year. The recent five-year average world wheat outturn was 663 million tonnes.

The IGC commented, “The world wheat area for the 2012 harvest is projected to expand 1.7% to 225 million hectares (ha), the largest since 1998. Most of the increase is expected in North America and the Commonwealth of Independent States (comprising nations formerly parts of the Soviet Union), boosted by attractive domestic and international prices.”

The IGC said its initial forecast for 2012-13 was based on normal weather conditions for the rest of the growing season.

“Aside from dryness in parts of the U.S. and Ukraine, the condition of winter wheat in the Northern Hemisphere is mostly reported to be good,” IGC said.

The forecast also assumed an increase in spring wheat plantings in North America and a return to average yields compared with the record high world average seen in the current year.